Garcia Down But Not Out

By Mercer BaggsJune 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- The image is indelible, and may well be defining - Sergio Garcia scissor-kicking his way down the 16th fairway at Medinah, having whirlwinded a 6-iron from the base of a tree.
 
He was a hero then. A 19-year-old phenom who almost overthrew golfs current king.
 
But somewhere between then and now, boyish charm eroded into boorish behavior. Cheers turned to jeers. And that swing, the one many predicted would some day have to be changed, underwent the inevitable construction.
 
Its still in an overhaul state. And because of it, Garcia is left to answer questions on if he can make the cut, instead of if he can win.
 
Garcia enters this years U.S. Open having missed six cuts in his last eight PGA Tour starts. Included in the mix are a first-round loss in the WGC-Accenture Match Play and a tie for 28th in the Masters.
 
At one time, he was fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking. He's now 14th. Not a terrible drop-off, but certainly not where he desires to be.
 
His highlights include three PGA Tour victories, and nine worldwide; a victorious appearance in the 2002 Ryder Cup, and a head-to-head beating of Woods in the made-for-television Battle at Bighorn in 2000.
 
But hes also thrown his shoe in a European event, almost hitting a tournament official, blamed a rules official for a two-stroke penalty in another European event, and drawn the ire of some U.S. Ryder Cuppers for skipping down the fairway during Davis Love IIIs and Pierre Fulkes singles match (though the ultimate Cup outcome had already been determined).
 
And then there was last year at Bethpage, where he accused officials of showing favoritism to Woods and made an obscene gesture in the direction of heckling fans.
 
I think thats something that has passed; its already been a year ago, he said when the latter incident was brought up in Tuesdays press conference.
 
Garcia is trying to focus on the future. Thats why he altered his swing. Hes trying to rid himself of that time-consuming waggle. Hes also trying to get the club more parallel at the top to improve his downswing and add consistency.
 
Down the stretch when the pressure is on, Ive always had to try to hook the ball too much because of the way my swing was, he explained. So Im just trying to get a bit more consistent at that. And I think what were doing with the swing now is going to help me down the road to be a bit more comfortable with myself when the heat is on.
 
Im getting stronger and older and I dont need as much latitude to hit the ball so far.
 
Woods can relate to Garcia's plight. After winning the 1997 Masters by 12 shots, he picked apart his swing one piece at a time and rebuilt it. He won only once in '98, and didn't get another major title to his credit until the '99 PGA. But over the last five seasons he has 30 PGA Tour victories, including seven major championships.
 
'When you're working on things like that, you're going to lose a little bit of confidence, that's just natural. But it's a matter of showing progress,' Woods said.
 
'I don't know if he's showing progress or not. I think he's going to have to be the one to answer that.'
 
The 23-year-old Spaniard knows patience has to be his greatest virtue in this emotionally strenuous endeavor.
 
Currently, his expectations arent as great as they were a year ago, when he won the Mercedes Championships and declared he had his sights set on winning the money title on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
He was the only player ' from any continent or any tour ' to finish inside the top-10 in all four majors. His best result came in this event, where he played in the final group Sunday with eventual champion Woods and ended in fourth place.
 
Hes hoping for a revival of sorts this week. Perhaps a return to the Chicago area will do him some good.
 
It definitely brings good memories and confidence in yourself, he said, thinking back to Medinah. But its a different week; its a different course, although it looks a bit like it.
 
And, he hopes, maybe the fans will remember him in that 1999 light and not the shadow he's recently cast.
 
The Chicago crowds are great, he said. Im expecting a good game on my side ' expect the same kind of the crowds.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Open Home
  • Full Tournament Coverage
  • Olympia Fields Course Tour
  • Getty Images

    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


    2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


    The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


    Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


    And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

    Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


    Photo Galleries: Best of ...

    Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

    Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.